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calendar   Wednesday - February 28, 2007

Newt’s Solution For Iraq

Newt Gingrich gave testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and he described his perception of the current world situation and offered up an 18-point plan to solve the Iraq problem (full text of his testimony here). I agree with most of the suggestions and I think he is taking the right approach to solving the problems in dealing with the insurgency in Iraq.

It’s only when he gets to points 17 and 18 that he loses me. Those two points require one thing: a cooperative Congress. President Bush never had a really cooperative Congress. When his own party was in power they indulged in pork barrel games with the budget, among other things. Bush could have over-ridden them but didn’t. I realize that but he never was in control of that crowd.

However, with Democrats in power now the chances of any bipartisan approach to just about anything is a complete impossibility. You might as well ask Osama Bin Laden to convert to Christianity as ask Nancy Pelosi to cooperate with George Bush. Ain’t gonna happen. The Democrats have been stubbornly fighting the administration for six full years. To ask them to play nice now will only get you a hearty laugh from the Donks. Fuggedaboutit.

Then again, perhaps Newt’s plan is being drawn up for implementation by the next President, one who could possibly get along better with Democrats in Congress - but that would require someone very familiar with the members of Congress and who perhaps knows from experience how to deal with them. I wonder if Newt has a certain former Speaker Of The House in mind for that job ...

It was very disappointing to have the President focus so much on 21, 500 more military personnel and so little on the reforms needed in all the other elements of the executive branch. The proposals for winning in Iraq outlined below follow from this analysis.

Key Steps to Victory in Iraq

imageimage1. Place General Petraeus in charge of the Iraq campaign and establish that the Ambassador is operating in support of the military commander.

2. Since General Petraeus will now have responsibility for victory in Iraq all elements of achieving victory are within his purview and he should report daily to the White House on anything significant which is not working or is needed

3. Create a deputy chief of staff to the President and appoint a retired four star general or admiral to manage Iraq implementation for the Commander in Chief on a daily basis.

4. Establish that the second briefing (after the daily intelligence brief) the President will get every day is from his deputy chief of staff for Iraq implementation.

5. Establish a War Cabinet which will meet once a week to review metrics of implementation and resolve failures and enforce decisions. The President should chair the War Cabinet personally and his deputy chief of staff for Iraq implementation should prepare the agenda for the weekly review and meeting.

6. Establish three plans: one for achieving victory with the help of the Iraqi government, one for achieving victory with the passive acquiescence of the Iraqi government, one for achieving victory even if the current Iraqi government is unhappy.  The third plan may involve very significant shifts in troops and resources away from Baghdad and a process of allowing the Iraqi central government to fend for itself if it refuses to cooperate.

7. Communicate clearly to Syria and Iran that the United States is determined to win in Iraq and that any further interference (such as the recent reports of sophisticated Iranian explosives being sent to Iraq to target Americans) will lead to direct and aggressive countermeasures.

8. Pour as many intelligence assets into the fight as needed to develop an overwhelming advantage in intelligence preparation of the battlefield.

9. Develop a commander’s capacity to spend money on local activities sufficient to enable every local American commander to have substantial leverage in dealing with local communities.

10. Establish a jobs corps or civil conservation corps of sufficient scale to bring unemployment for males under 30 below 10% (see the attached op-ed by Mayor Giuliani and myself on this topic).

11. Expand dramatically the integration of American purchasing power in buying from Iraqi firms pioneered by Assistant Secretary Paul Brinkley to maximize the rate of recovery of the Iraqi economy.

12. Expand the American Army and Marine Corps as much as needed to sustain the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan while also being prepared for other contingencies and maintaining a sustainable rhythm for the families and the force.

13. Demand a war budget for recapitalization of the military to continue modernization while defeating our enemies. The current national security budget is lower as a percentage of the economy than at any time from Pearl Harbor through the end of the Cold War.  It is less than half the level Truman sustained before the Korean War.

14. The State Department is too small, too undercapitalized and too untrained for the demands of the 21st century. There should be a 50% increase in the State Department budget and a profound rethinking of the culture and systems of the State Department so it can be an operationally effective system.

15. The Agency for International Development is hopelessly unsuited to the new requirements of economic assistance and development and should be rethought from the ground up. The Marshall Plan and Point Four were as important as NATO in containing the Soviet Empire. We do not have that capability today.

16. The President should issue executive orders where possible to reform the implementation system so it works with the speed and effectiveness required by the 21st century.

17. Where legislation is needed the President should collaborate with Congress in honestly reviewing the systems that are failing and developing new metrics, new structures and new strategies.

18. Under our Constitution it is impossible to have this scale of rethinking and reform without deep support from the legislative branch. Without Republican Senator Arthur Vandenburg, Democratic President Harry Truman could never have developed the containment policies that saved freedom and ultimately defeated the Soviet Empire.  The President should ask the bipartisan leaders of Congress to cooperate in establishing a joint Legislative-Executive working group on winning the war and should openly brief the legislative branch on the problems which are weakening the American system abroad. Only by educating and informing the Congress can we achieve the level of mutual understanding and mutual commitment that this long hard task will require.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2007 at 11:39 AM   
Filed Under: • IraqRepublicans •  
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